By on December 8, 2010

Speed cameras are right up there with ethanol, left-lane bandits and electric power steering on our automotive shit list, but The Fun Theory and Kevin Richardson think they may have found a way to make the robot nannies more palatable. If you pass a speed camera at or under the speed limit, you are entered into a lottery to win the fines paid by motorists who speed past the camera. In short, Richardson’s idea takes the revenue motivation for speed cameras away from local governments and democratizes it. But then you still have to submit to constant surveillance, and this also doesn’t prevent the increase in accidents that often accompanies speed cameras. But does this make speed cameras more palatable, or is this simply a pointless sugar-coating of a fundamentally flawed approach to road safety?

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25 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Is This A Speed Camera That You Can Live With?...”


  • avatar
    aspade

    Sure it’s something I can live with, there’s nothing to live with, take the revenue away and the cameras simply won’t exist.  As long as we’re dreaming I’d also like a SRT8 for Christmas.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    I’ll take "Lipstick On A Pig" for 200, Alex…

  • avatar
    Steve65

    I’d like to see all “enforcement” cameras go away, and enforcement focus on actually dangerous driving rather than the most easily quantifiable statutory violations.
     
    I’d also like a pony, a Gallardo in “visible from orbit” green, and a unicorn which farts rainbows and pisses root beer floats.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      This +avogadro’s number
       
      Enforcement should focus more on signaling, lane discipline, etc. If we’re all scared into becoming better drivers, speeding won’t matter as much. Maybe we could still maintain a threshold (say, +25mph) where reckless driving figures into the equation, but giving tickets for a few mph over is almost always ridiculous in terms of increasing safety.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’m all for speed- and red-light cameras if they’re deployed in a standard fashion with known tolerances and timings, if the settings are open and available, and if they’re not used for anything more than fining the plate-owner.
     
    Police are expensive, biased, prone to error and unverfiable—especially when they’re place in revenue-generating roles.  I’ll take a camera any day and, to be nice, it would free up traffic officers to handle issues of discipline and safety on the roads.

    • 0 avatar
      gimmeamanual

      Why should I, as the plate owner, be responsible for someone else speeding in my car?

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      “Police are expensive, biased, prone to error and unverfiable”
      Cameras fail on all those points, not consistently but too often.
       
      TTAC has posted numerous stories where the cameras are mis-calibrated, not monitored per state law, and most are rigged from the outset in long-lane distance/short yellow duration intersections.
       
      As for bias, have you forgotten that social scientists claim different groups exhibit different behaviors(neither right or wrong), therefore a standard measuring device is unfair and culturally insensitive. See concepts of time and punctuality among various social strata.
       
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Why should I, as the plate owner, be responsible for someone else speeding in my car?

      Because it’s your car.  Unless it’s stolen, you should know who and where it is, and you should be able to extract money from whomever you lent it to at the time.  This is how parking tickets works now and people don’t complain.

      TTAC has posted numerous stories where the cameras are mis-calibrated, not monitored per state law, and most are rigged from the outset in long-lane distance/short yellow duration intersections.

      Yes, but I can test for that and prove it in court.  I have been to court and been opposite a police officer who outright lied, and was being paid $x per year to do so.  Never mind that it’s an ineffective use of an officer’s time to sit in a cruiser and ping people when a machine can do so for much less.

    • 0 avatar
      gimmeamanual

      People with parking ticket fines aren’t much of a danger to the general public.  And parking tickets don’t make your insurance go up.  Speeding tickets can simply not be assigned to a vehicle only, they must go to the operator.

  • avatar
    stuki

    It’s worse than just sugar coating, in that it is actually an attempt to sucker an even larger share of the ever gullible, well indoctrinated masses that passes for citizens these days, into dropping whatever pathetic little excuse for a guard against abject ruling class overreach may still be left in them.
     
    Assuming such a lottery was run. Does anyone believe there will not be “cost of administration” fees lopped off the top, going straight into the pockets of the same leeches feeding off the current system?
     
    As long as reducing speeding increases “safety”, and “safety” is something valuable, those valuing it should have no problem footing the bill for measures to increase it. It’s not like keeping serial killers locked up for life is particularly profitable. The only reason mechanistic speeding enforcement isn’t handled the same way, is that noone is really all that convinced of the supposed “safety” increase it brings in the first place. So it has instead simply become a revenue generator for the leeching classes.
     
    Better to chuck out the entirety of contemporary traffic enforcement, and replace it with genuinely deterring penalties for those found by a jury of twelve to be  proven, to criminal standards of proof, to have endangered their fellow citizens. it’s not like endangering some child by racing at 100+ through a playground is somehow any less “bad” than having fun making the same kids dance by shooting at their feet. You’re either endangering someone to a certain degree, or your not. As for supposedly “minor” infractions, if they’re too minor to justify a proper trial, they’re too minor to be harassing people about in the first place.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    How to get weak/retarded/government-loving massman to except his own government ownership…Hitler would be proud of this idea.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I’d rather have traffic cameras that can detect when someone is driving like a jackass (which includes many offenses other than speeding) and tickets them accordingly.  

    Don’t stop at a stop sign?  Get a ticket.  Don’t use a turn signal?  Get a ticket.  Pull out in front of someone?  Get a ticket. Going 50 down a residential street? Get a ticket.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      The DC area (and surely others) have “aggressive driving” cameras. My dad got ticketed there for changing lanes too quickly during some spirited driving on an open stretch of highway. Nobody else around, and he wasn’t speeding.
       
      That’s a lot more subjective (and maddening) than speed cameras, but the tiny $50 tickets almost guarantee nobody fights them.

    • 0 avatar
      dhanson865

      I agree with the gist of your post but stop signs are overused. Either implement the Take Turns sign http://blog.ted.com/2010/03/09/gary_lauders_ne/ or put a clause in the law that says it’s OK to run a stop sign if no one is present at the other 3 directions of a 4 way intersection. Heck even traffic circles are better than stop signs in some cases but I wouldn’t want to see them replace all stop signs.

      Stop signs waste fuel and time especially when they are on a hill and stop the flow of uphill or downhill traffic.

  • avatar

    I did find small solace in the speed cameras always being in the same position, always being on, and always being impartial (however “calibrated” they might have been). This knowledge kept me from actively researching DIY thermite “hats” for these things while I endured the seemingly endless cycle of aggressive speed adjustments and blinding flash bulbs in my face at night.
     
    The simple solution would be more stringent licensing requirements. Far more operators than drivers on the road these days…

  • avatar
    xyzzy

    So the way to maximize my odds and possible return from this system is to do two things:
     
    1. Not speed
    2. Encourage everyone else to
     
     

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    As long as we’re dreaming, and the goal, as I understand it, is to get everyone to slow down…

    A) Put a big flatscreen tv above the camera
    B) Drivers going by at or below the speed limit can watch a few seconds of naked pr0n
    C) Most will circle back, go by again, only slower
    D) And again
    E) Some may actually pull over and slow to the point of parked

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Isn’t the real objection to speed cameras (not red light cameras) the fact that it skews the odds that we all count on when speeding? We all rely on the fact that speeding drivers far outnumber policemen looking for speeders, and thus hold down the odds that we’ll get tagged on any given trip that we speed. However, cameras can catch an almost unlimited number of speeders, thus the odds of getting tagged go up accordingly. Unless you are going to argue that speed limits are set inappropriately in a given camera location (as sometimes is the case when the local govt is trying to trick/trap unsuspecting drivers), speed cameras are not inherently evil.

  • avatar
    twotone

    I prefer the topless Danish babes holding speed limit signs.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/28/bikini_bandits/

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